I was all prepared to make a bunch of six jokes given it was the sixth debate and there were six candidates, but then Andrew Yang qualified and all those go out the window.
It’s been a busy week between the impeachment vote and this three-hour debate, so I’ll try to be brief.
Klobuchar had a good night. Her cut-in during the back-and-forth between Buttigieg and Warren over fundraising was well-timed and well-delivered: campaign finance reform or bust.
On the whole, infighting over wine caves aside, it was a fairly solid debate for all comers. There were a few slips, but nothing major by anyone.
The healthcare debate seemed to crystalize a bit more this time. It’s about pragmatists who think that they can drag the ACA far enough to get 90% of the way there versus the pragmatists who think that the other 10% is the whole ballgame as long as someone like Donald John Trump can come along, with the Republicans and the 5th Circuit egging him on, and sabotage the healthcare of millions.
The missing faces were missed at this debate. The balancing act that the DNC is trying to manage is not an easy one. This felt about the right upper size for a debate, but how to decide who gets to participate is a different question than how many should.
The other, related point there is that the Democrats should consider curtailing the length of the campaigns a bit. They start so early and that’s a lot of energy to put out there for so long, even from the candidates’ perspectives. If we had started only a month or two ago, and we had had three nights with seven candidates, then two nights with seven, and now arrived at one night with seven, it would have felt more reasonable.
I guess what I’m saying is that the longevity of the campaign process adds a bit to the feeling that candidates are being cut out too soon, where if it was a shorter, more abrupt cutting process, it wouldn’t feel as artificial.
It is 45 weeks until the election. Happy Christmas. Happy New Year. See you in 2020.